My loves, I have a story for you. And, like all the best stories, it simply must begin with: “Once Upon a Time”.
It begins nearly ten years ago, when I moved back home after spending a year at college in New York. I managed to set myself up as an intern for an improv theatre troupe (best internship ever – more on that some other time) for high school students. These kids were four or more years younger than me. Some were funny, some were annoying, one was my brother… but there was no more frustrating, none more self-important than the girl with the ridiculous hats and the New Jersey accent.
Her name was Sammy. Never Samantha. Call her Samantha, and die.
If I hadn’t made it clear already, I did not like this girl. She just rubbed me the wrong way. And she stole my birthday, may Zeus smite her.
Years later, of course, it was funny to learn that we both suffered from #instahate.
I genuinely have no idea how became friends. She may remember this part better than me, since I was in college and indulging in all sorts of nonsense (and by “nonsense” I mean overworking myself and too much theatre – ain’t nobody got time for any stereotypical college fun) – but by the end of it we were friends. Good friends. And one of the biggest things we bonded over? Writing.
At the time, I was working on Fate, which is my baby and even though I’ve already rewritten it twice, I’ll probably rewrite it six more times and it will never see the light of day. Sammy was working on a story called The Nightmare Effect. I was one of her early beta readers back then, when she was still a smol high schooler with bright eyes and the belief that everyone’s outfits should be described in painstaking detail.
Back then, Sam was a remarkable storyteller. But her writing felt sloppy. She over-described a lot of things and fervently defended one of her characters, Everett, as though he was the smolest and bestest cinnamon roll. When she self-published through Lulu, she gave me the second print copy of The Nightmare Effect. Now about ten years later, I’m not sure if she’d be honored that I still have it, or if she will try to break into my house and burn it so there’s no evidence.
Let me repeat – this was a genuinely good story. It just needed a little editing. But when you’re sixteen and you’ve written a novel, it is your baby. It’s hard to see that it’s not ready for publication when it’s your pride and joy. I can relate – I have printed copies of each of my finished manuscripts, even though they’re only first drafts.
Since then, Sammy has done a lot.
Like, I really can’t empathize this enough – she’s done so many things.
From getting full scholarships into two different prestigious law schools to interning with the United Nations to running off and eloping last year, she has lived a full and rich life. I could not be more proud of her if she was my own sister.
In the intervening years, she’s grown out of her awkward high school frame and into herself as a person. She’s become this incredible, gorgeous young woman with fiery passion, and she is the loyalest of friends. I hadn’t seen the girl in almost five years, and she was one of my bridesmaids when I got married in 2015. She reached out after my miscarriage, and is there to talk about everything from books to politics to whatever.
Therefore, I am so excited to be telling you this gorgeous person who is so close to my heart has gone back and thoroughly revised her first finished novel, bringing to it her new skills and years of love and practice. As if of tomorrow, it’s available as an eBook on Kindle, Nook, Kobo… everywhere. (I’ll add links as soon as I have them!)
To give you a sneak peek, here’s the quick summary:
What do you do when you’re the only hope for the human race?
It’s a question Danielle Garcia has never considered. Usually she was too busy trying to answer the question of, “What do you do when you have strange abilities and the entire town is terrified of you?” As if growing up in the middle-of-freaking-nowhere wasn’t bad enough, Danielle is shunned wherever she goes, feared by all because of her unnatural appearance and… a few other secrets.
That is, until the new students move in. Signum Travvols and his mysterious young family charm the town, blinding them to what Danielle can’t help but see: they have their own set of strange abilities, bizarre appearances, and dark secrets.
But between an ancient battle for domination of the world and supernatural hybrids created from fire and darkness, their secrets might be more than Danielle bargained for. And first, she’ll have to answer the most ominous question of all: why won’t they leave her alone?
This is a story about friendship, magic, strength, and truth. Sam’s created her own mythical creatures and an intricate magic system. Have I mentioned I’m proud of her? I’m so proud of her.
And next week, I’ll be bringing you a brand new review. For now, you can add The Nightmare Effect to your Goodreads TBR!
I’m so excited, and so happy for her. 🙂